#19 On 100 Movies I Haven’t Seen But Should
Directed By: Mike Nichols
Written By: Calder Willingham and Buck Henry
Staring: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross, William Daniels, Murray Hamilton, and Elizabeth Wilson
Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. -Benjamin
The Graduate was darkly funny at times and certainly had a unique feel to the film, but the well regarded movie fell short with me and I found myself disappointed. It was a strange movie with odd character interactions and the feeling that the choices of the characters were completely illogical. Aside from an awesome soundtrack and intriguing cinematography, I’m actually dumbfounded this won best picture.
Benjamin Braddock has recently graduated and finds himself being seduced by a family friends mother, better refered to as “Mrs. Robinson”, who happens to be the wife of his father’s business partner. As he continues the affair he eventually discovers that he is falling in love with her teenage daughter, Elaine. And of course, complications ensue.
Hoffman only became interesting halfway through, but for the better half I was actually bored iwth him and found him annoying. Anne Bancroft on the other hand stole show. She was everything that Hoffman lacked. As a sexy, alluring, and interesting middle aged woman, she made the scenes she was in worth watching. Though she played Hoffman’s much older companion, in actuality she and Hoffman were separated by less than ten years.
The biggest problem I had was I didn’t buy into any of the relationships. Very little felt sincere and therefore I didn’t believe it. I understood the point Mike Nichols was making and appreciated the curiosity of exploring ageism in suburbia and the twisted situation, but it still didn’t feel honest.
What was great about the movie other than Anne Bancroft was the awesome soundtrack of Simon and Garfunkel, which felt oddly out of place, yet set a mood and presence that the characters and the rest of the film failed to do. The cinematography also helped in this capacity. I felt taken in by the feel and look of the film. The sound and sight at times were haunting but they connected you to what was happening. I was totally enamored by the superficial side of The Graduate. It’s a shame the story and characters didn’t resonate as lifelike and compelling.
After watching initially I was on the fence and still have lukewarm feelings about it. It was an okay movie, but the first on my 100 Movies To See that didn’t seem worth it’s classic hype. Maybe the relationships and suburbia/ageism satires had more relevancy upon it’s release, but it didn’t strike any particular chords with me. I’m glad I finally saw it, but I have no desire to ever see it again.
Did you like “The Graduate”? Rate it!